Speaking at an automotive conference in Detroit, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt expressed his company’s commitment to the long-term development of alternative-fuel vehicles, namely electric ones.
Immelt is well aware that consumers “may be disappointed in the adoption of the electric vehicle” but reassures that the disappointment will fade as technology gets better. For starters, electric vehicle batteries’ pricing is expected to drop, hopefully leading to EV prices dropping which Immelt is well aware is one of the major concerns with EVs today. “The near term challenge is going to be all about cost,” he said at the conference.
GE will continue to invest in battery technology and reiterated that it believes electric vehicles are not a novelty. To him, General Electric does not invest in technologies simply because they’re popular, and he is convinced that alternative fuel vehicles will not remain a small niche.
Electric vehicle sales in states other than California have been underwhelming, with many finding it hard to justify the purchase when it takes 12 years to break even on a Chevrolet Volt at $4 a gallon, according to an auto research group. GE executives however share a Volt at its headquarters and they believe driving the vehicle is an empowering experience.
But General Electric isn’t the only company investing into improving electric vehicles’ technologies. IBM is currently working on its Project 500 battery to help EVs achieve a 500 mile range.
One of the major hindrances to EV sales is all the negative press surrounding them, including Fisker’s Karma glitch, and the heavily publicized Volt fire investigation. As EV technologies continue to mature and improve, those problems and subsequent negative coverage will probably subside as well.
[Source: Chicago Tribune]